As Prices Rise, Oil Companies Drill Down on Industrial Cybersecurity

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In recent months, more US oil company boards have demanded information technology managers prove refineries and drilling rigs are protected against cyberattacks, the chief of a security firm says.

A refinery along Highway 225 on 25 January 2017, in Dear Park, Texas.
Credit: James Nielsen/Houston Chronicle.

Rising oil prices and increased awareness of industrial cyberthreats seem to have spurred new corporate-level maneuvers this year to secure computer controls that run energy facilities, said Barak Perelman, chief executive of Israeli cyber security firm Indegy. At some oil companies, he said, chief information security officers now spend a quarter of their monthly security committee meetings discussing so-called industrial control systems, the devices that control oil and gas equipment.

“They’re being given budgets for industrial cybersecurity,” Perelman said on 12 May. “In all my conversations, nobody has said ‘yes, but oil prices.’ I heard that a lot last year.”

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